Posted by: martinworster | October 8, 2004

25. LITTLE BRITAIN

Branston Pickle, Cheddar Cheese, PG Tips, Sky, EasyJet…lovely jubbly.

 It would be easy – and many people do – to lead a life just like home if you liked. There’s the English supermarket for your Branston Pickle and PG Tips, Sky Satellite piped into your home so you never have to miss any more Eastenders / Big Brother / whatever shakes your tree. It’s pretty sad. Sometimes it feels like Blackburn on Sea here. Blame Easyjet and Ryanair for opening it up to the Bucket Shop Brigade. Not that I am any different to this mob.

It’s also strange to see how England is perceived over here. It’s weird as you see a lot of Spanish and Catalans wearing the Union Jack. I see it as a logo on sweaters, t-shirts, coats, track suits. Very strange as most people wouldn’t be seen dead in it at home.

This is why I wouldn’t be staying here forever. I would like to lead a more authentic life living abroad. I’m thinking another, less accessible, part of Spain would be good. Glacia, in North West Spain, really appeals to me. Green and lush, invigorated by the Atlantic and not easy to get to from Blighty so I can avoid all the Sharons and Kevs – and now also, the hoardes of marauding Chavs. The other thing is I want to live in ‘Spain’. Not Catalonia. I want to live where Spanish is the first language and they speak with a Spanish accent. Somewhere where they are pleased if you speak their language, not here, where it’s frequently associated as the oppressors tongue. It might also allow me to get a truer insight into the Spanish character. Or at least that region’s version of the Spanish character. Like the UK, each region has a distinct character and accent. The cliches are that Catalans are tight and inward looking, Andalucians slow and lazy and Basques arrogant and proud. Just like at home – Sweaty Socks (Jocks) are tight, Mickey Mousers (Scousers) are thieves etc. Regional stereotypes designed to subjugate a whole section of the population, regional propaganda.

There is some real extreme nationalism in Catalonia which is very ugly and in my opinion a not too distant relation to some forms of religious extremism and totally out of place in this millenia. One of the versions of the Catalan flag has a star on it and this is the independent version. They of course want an independent Catalonia but some strands are very opinionated on a pure language and undiluted culture. I have seen demonstrations where they burn the European Union flag and even the French flag. I fail to see what they are trying to gain. In todays global state independence for Catalonia comes quite low down on the list of priorities.

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